A Data-Driven, Customer-Informed Approach to Developing a New City-Wide Customer Service Strategy

City: Hamilton, Canada

Reporting to: Chief Digital Officer & Director of Innovation

The Challenge

The city leadership of Hamilton is prioritizing a city-wide customer service strategy to improve response times, accessibility, and public satisfaction. While the city has matured its customer service approach, service delivery is still fragmented across a range of service areas with a variety of access points, each with a potential for a different service experience. For example, the city has 20+ phone numbers, 170+ email addresses, 100+ forms, several call centers, and multiple customer service counters at various locations. This creates complex community interactions to access city services. City leadership recognizes the need to renew its Customer Service Strategy to meet the current and future expectations of the community. City leadership wishes to better align services with how community members access other private and public sector services. This includes a shift to digital-first options that have the potential to enable city staff to better collect, synthesize, and review customer satisfaction data to inform more effective service delivery. These tools will also allow city staff to disaggregate data and review disparities in satisfaction. However, city officials see the importance of striking a balance between equitable and upgraded service provision: a push towards digitalization cannot alienate residents reliant on traditional methods.

A data-driven approach to improving customer service supports the City Council’s wider objective to increase municipal trust and accountability. The city’s current customer service roadmap has already led to improvements in service delivery over past iterations, including newly developed training, more standard policies, and streamlining internal processes. In addition, in line with the city’s recently adopted Digital Strategy, the city is consolidating its software systems and services. Key activities include implementing a multi-year project to combine 13 existing enterprise asset management solutions, migrating away from an outdated customer service relationship management solution, and exploring options to update the city’s telephone system. The work of the fellow will be key to an overall renewal for an enterprise customer service strategy, which is being developed per direction from council. The fellow, working together with the Chief Digital Officer and Director for Innovation, will connect best practice, research, data analysis, and policy analysis to answer the following questions:

  • What are promising practices for collecting customer interactions across channels reporting?

  • How can the city collect customer service data across different channels?

  • How can tools within the city’s existing (or soon to be procured) technology stack enable capturing customer interactions across channels as well as satisfaction data?

  • What are promising practices on creating a feedback loop to deliver continuous, customer-centric improvements to service delivery?

  • How can the city capture this work in a policy, procedure, or guideline document that can be referenced by staff across all service areas?

  • How can the city build Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) principles into customer satisfaction data collection and reporting?

A successful fellow would bring fresh perspective and promising practices research to capturing customer satisfaction across a complex range of services that the City of Hamilton delivers through different channels.


What You’ll Do

To address these questions, the fellow will engage key internal and external stakeholders to inform program implementation and design. These stakeholders include service delivery owners, the customer service group, Office of the Mayor, the senior leadership team, IT, the Digital and Information Team, Government & Community Engagement team, Human Resources, a diverse range of service users, residents, businesses, other cities and municipalities, technology providers, community organizers, and advocacy groups. Through research and engagement, the fellow will provide key inputs into guidelines and best practices for capturing customer satisfaction across a complex range of services.

Key Deliverables Include:

  1. Research on current practice and work done to date regarding Customer Satisfaction to capture current state.
  2. Technology review of existing and future city owned platforms/technologies to support collection of customer satisfaction.
  3. External research on best practices related to collecting and reporting on Customer Satisfaction (Private sector and other municipalities).
  4. Draft of a new customer satisfaction standard or policy.
  5. Presentation of recommendations to key stakeholders including the City Manager, the senior leadership team, the Director of Customer Service, the Chief Digital Officer & Director of Innovation, and the Mayor, if applicable.


What You’ll Bring

The fellow will be expected to possess the following skills:

  • Data analysis
  • Qualitative interviewing and analysis
  • Marketing
  • Policy analysis
  • Design Thinking
  • Writing and editing
  • Policy and procedural development


Back to Summer Fellowships page.

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